The ability and willingness of Frisco ISD teachers to collaborate has always been a benefit to their students. During the implementation of eLearning, that collaboration is more important than ever for District physical education teachers and coaches.
Creativity and collaboration is helping teachers continue to instruct and motivate their students during a time when school buildings are closed to combat the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19).
“Collaboration is nothing new to our Frisco ISD P.E. teachers. However, what I have noticed these past two weeks is something different, something magical,” said Allison Ginn, the District’s coordinator of secondary P.E. and health. “Teachers are asking students to make connections between their real world of spending the majority of time at home while still focusing on their physical, mental, emotional and social health. The conversations are truly remarkable, which in turn is creating some of the best P.E. content we have seen in years.”
On Wednesday, nearly 50 FISD secondary P.E. teachers and coaches were part of a video conference call that allowed them to encourage each other and give feedback on the choice boards they are developing each week for students.
The choice boards, now being widely used by P.E. teachers and coaches in all grade levels, allow students to choose activities that fulfill their exercise requirement each day. A choice board can include possibilities such as strength, endurance and core workouts, along with links to descriptions and instructions. The choices might also include activities around the house, movement challenges, dance-routine workouts, running journals and the opportunity for a student to choreograph a dance routine.
All the choices can be done while following the city and county directives for social distancing, and students can verify their participation through writing about an activity or uploading a photo or video.
“It has always been our goal to provide our students with choice in the activities they can participate in, whether that is in or out of the school day. Moving to our eLearning platform fit perfectly with our goal of choice,” said Kendric Smith, the boys athletic coordinator at Pearson Middle School and the District’s lead teacher for secondary P.E. and health. “Giving students these options has allowed them autonomy in what activity they choose. We want our students to be as active as possible during these difficult times.”
J.T. Mistr, the District’s lead teacher for elementary P.E., agrees. He said the District’s teachers have been searching for workouts, dances, interactive activities and other health-related resources they can include on the choice boards. Additionally, some campuses have been encouraging their students through challenges, such as their amount of steps in a day or minutes of movement. Mistr posts his workout totals on Twitter and challenges his students at Pink Elementary to beat him.
“It’s another way for us to stay connected as well as help motivate them to stay active,” Mistr said.
The teacher collaboration has resulted in ideas such as activity bingo games, exercise-related scavenger hunts and creative ways to add workout variety through coin flips and dice rolls. The strength in numbers of the FISD teachers and coaches also shows in the robust list of workout and activity resources they are sharing with students and parents during this unprecedented time of social distancing.
That combined knowledge, from teachers and coaches in FISD and beyond, is powerful.
“Many of the ideas that we are using for our choice boards, week to week, is taken from the amazing physical education community throughout the world,” Smith said. “We are all sharing ideas of how to take a hands-on, movement-based course to an online eLearning platform. It has been challenging, but one of the most rewarding challenges we have taken on.”